The truth about Toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis is one of the most well known zoonotic diseases – meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans. The problem is, there’s heaps of misinformation out there and some of it leads to unnecessary concern and anxiety for cat owners.
Toxoplasmosis is caused by infection with Toxoplasma gondii (T gondii), a coccidian parasite that is present around the world. Cats can be infected with the parasite but research shows that owning a cat does not increase your risk of being infected by this parasite. The majority of human infections are thought to occur through the ingestion of undercooked meat (containing tissue cysts) or contaminated fruit or vegetables that have come in contact with contaminated soil.
Although the risk of transmission of T gondii from a cat to its owner is very low, it can be reduced further by following these recommendations:
+ People in ‘high risk’ groups (e.g. pregnant women, immunosuppressed individuals, young children) should not have contact with or handle the cat’s litter tray
+ Wear gloves when handling cat litter and wash hands thoroughly after cleaning a litter tray
+ Empty litter trays daily and dispose of litter safely
+ Cover children’s sandpits when not in use to prevent cats using them as litter trays
+ Feed only properly cooked food or commercial cat food to your cat to avoid infection
+ Fruit and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before eating
+ Meat should be cooked to a minimum of 58°C for 10 minutes or 61°C.
+ Microwaving is not safe as the heating is uneven
+ Freeze meat at -12°C to -20°C for three days before consumption
If you have any questions or need more information we are always here to help.